Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Overcoming The Superhuman Syndrome

Happy Wednesday! I want to extend a special thanks to everyone who entered to win a copy of my CD "Loving The Woman In The Mirror", which followed Mondays Proverbs 31 Devotion, The Real Meaning of Perfection.

The winner was randomly drawn, and is Shelly S Cantrell! Shelly - please email your address to me and I will get your CD in the mail today!
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It appears that the topic of "perfectionism" struck a chord with a lot of women. So many of us struggle with not only trying to be perfect, or wishing we were perfect, but secretly condemning ourselves for not being perfect.

I noticed a pattern in many of the comments this week, that personifies the fact that this desire to achieve an unrealistic status of perfectionism really is a world wide problem. The commonalities I saw in the comments included struggles with:

* appearance, self image and weight
* comparing ourselves to other women
* feeling inadequate as a mom
* desiring for our children to be perfect, respectful kids that measure up
* thinking we have to get everything perfect the first time
* being the perfect housekeeper and wife
* re-discovering identity and self worth as an empty-nester
* maintaining a quiet and gentle spirit, and having patience


As I pondered the list above, I thought about what we would look like if we actually met all those expectations. Hypothetically, we would be a woman who:

* has the perfect body, perfect hair, and never struggles with a few extra pounds
* never bothers with comparing herself to others because she has high self esteem
* is always amazed at her Godly, never-failing, wonderful parenting abilities
* has children who never fall or fail in any way
* masters every task at the first attempt
* has a house that is perfectly decorated, neat and tidy at all times
* fully embraces every season of life, including change, with joy and excitement
* never loses her temper, and carries a sweet and gently disposition at all times


Seriously?

I am not even sure if June Cleaver would measure up to these standards!

A list such as this, with such an impressive, exhaustive rundown of wonderful qualities can only describe one thing - a superhuman. Therefore, as we hold ourselves accountable to meet all these standards of perfection, that we have set for ourselves or that we feel the world has placed upon us, we are striving to meet a level of perfection that is entirely unattainable.

Even if we were to pick just a few of these qualities to strive for, we would still fall head over heels into the game of trying to achieve a superhuman status,setting ourselves up for failure and disappointment; positioning ourselves to be superhuman more than we can possibly be - and the result is a battle with the disease of the superhuman syndrome.

A deadly syndrome which can drain the life right out of our self-esteem and our spirit. A syndrome that if left untreated, can negatively affect not only our view of ourselves, but our overall lives, and the people we hold dear.

As I looked over this superhuman list of expectations, I felt God whispering to my heart, saying "See? Striving for perfectionism is just plain silly, and unrealistic. Only I am perfect."

Then God immediately brought to mind a book I once read called i am not but i know I AM, by Louie Giglio. I strolled into my office and searched among all the books on my bookshelves until my eyes fell on the brown and burgundy cover.

I began skimming through the crisp pages, taking special note of the paragraphs I had underlined and the special truths I had highlighted.

Then I came across a page with the corner turned down, and paused to read it.

"In a heartbeat, Moses knew Gods name - and something more. He finally knew his. For if Gods name is I AM, Moses' name must be I am not.

- I am not the center of everything.
- I am not in control.
- I am not the solution.
- I am not all-powerful.
- I am not calling the shots.
- I am not the owner of anything.
- I am not the Lord.


Exactly.

We are not. Never will be. Cannot be.

But God Is, and always will Be.

He makes us whole and perfect and washed white as snow, because of who He is, not because of who we are. He is everything - we cannot be.

Sadly, our quest for being perfect in all the different facets of life is simply succumbing to the enemys lie that the superhuman syndrome is a good thing. When in fact, it is yet another tool in the devils toolbox to keep us from praising God for all that He is, and for who He made us uniquely to be.

I want to share one last quote from the Louie's book with you, which spoke straight to my heart:

You know the weight of trying to make yourself out to be bigger than you are - of trying to figure out how to run your life on your own, of always trying to determine the outcome, control the relationship, close the deal, run the show, hold it all together, know the future, protect your interest, build your kingdom - the weight of playing the role of God in your life and the lives of those around you.

Through the power of Christ, we can let go of this weight - and oh sister, it is a heavy weight to carry. Put that weight down today, and pick up the blessing of knowing you are worthy without it.

Take heart, we can overcome the super human syndrome, as we discover our identity in Him. We can embrace the person He created us to be - and in time, just maybe, even learn to love and adore that person as much as He does.

Dear Jesus, I lift up my sisters in Christ to you today, and I pray to you on my behalf as well. I pray for your compassion and peace to enter each persons heart, and that you will somehow reassure all of us that we are beautifully and wonderfully made, despite what we see in the mirror, or what we feel inside the privacy of our own hearts.

Help us to all be acutely aware that we are not equipped to carry the weight of trying to be perfect - of trying to be more than we are capable of. Help us release that heavy burden to You, and feel free to be who you created us to be, despite our flaws, our failures, and our insecurities. Pierce our hearts with the vivid realization that in Your eyes, we are beautiful, in fact, treasures, which is how You refer to us in the Bible.


Lord release us from the bondage that we keep ourselves in, as we try to be perfect in so many ways, all the while knowing that we will never meet the worlds or our own expectations. Shower us with your love in our individual lives, and give us a passion to perfect our faith, and not ourselves. In Your most precious and holy name, Jesus Christ. Amen.

(If you are interested in purchasing the book i am not but i know I AM, click here. )

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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tracie,
This is so profound. There are things on the first list that I did not even consider as being perfect or better yet a part of the Superhuman Syndrome. Thanks for the prayer. I like "I know who I am not". Got to read this again because I know some truth will be coming out of it. God bless you.

Colleen said...

Tracie,
This was such a great post! We all strive so hard for something we can never be: perfect! If we could only realize how God really sees us - with unconditional love - we would stop striving for perfection and just try to be the best human beings we can be, knowing He loves us still.
--Blessings

Tasha said...

Good post Tracie - I struggle from time to time. I sometimes feel like I need to be Super Mom! :) But guess what? If I was Super Mom, I wouldn't have any need for God! He doesn't intend for us to be perfect...if we were, He would have been sent here in vain. Thanks again for reminding me that it's OK not to be Super Mom everyday of the week! :)